Friday, August 31, 2007

Tanka Tanka Skunk

Repeat with me slowly (imagine a drum beating along with every word)

Tanka, Skunka,

Tanka, Skunka,

Tanka, Tanka, Skunk!

Slowly build the tempo and increase the beat. Repeat it every other page and say it faster than the earlier one. As you go further down, the words get mangled and all we end up saying is 'Ta', 'Sk' at super fast speed. It is real fun. Sooraj loved it.

This book by Steve Webb has a lot of energy. It is about two friends - Tanka, the elephant and Skunka, the Skunk. An odd combination. Both the friends start beating their drums and introduce a host of animals to the readers. As they go along introducing another friendly animal, the cadence of their drum beats decrease and increase - as they repeat their names as shouted out early in this blog entry (Tanka, Skunka, ... ).

There is absolutely no story in the book and that is the beauty of it. The animals are drawn in the most cartoonish manner and visually enchanting. Words are written in form that the young readers can easily spell them. The animals come in all sizes and shapes .

If you are interested in having a great fun time with your kids and not take up anything serious - this is a great pick. No morals, no pains, no teaching and no nothings! - just plain and simple fun.


Sheela said...

Nice pick, Satish! sounds like this book that Ana loves: Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb by Al Perkins & Eric Gurney - every other page has this nice beat:
Dum Ditty Dum Ditty Dum Dum Dum!
and has no story either - a bunch of monkeys drumming... simple short sentences all rhyming to the beat. Rhyme and repetition have always been a hit with the little ones, don't you think? [sometimes even with me!]

Tharini said...

And what a simple and fun review. Loved it. Will love this book with my son I am sure!

Meera Sriram said...

Hi Sathish,

Kids love such books, a good break from didactic ones, gives the adult reader a break too:) I particularly liked the idea of having the (often neglected) skunk around as a character in a book.

utbtkids said...

I had been meaning to leave this comment for a long time now. We read this book last sept cos it was reviewed at ST. My kids love it.

My almost five year old now write phonetically and reads pretty well. Thinking back this book was a mile stone in her reading/ writing. See how Tanka and Skunka beat their drums for caterpillar, alligator and such? They say cat-er-pill-ar, alli-ga-tor. Unknowingly we started with names at our house, we did for example, Max-ine, rob-ert and we identified the number of beats. This became a life saver in numerous long car trips. I was under the impression that it was purely entertainment, suddenly during Christmas last year, while we were making holiday cards for my kids' teachers, my older one said DEAR, then she said D-AR split 'dear' in to two syllabels with two claps, then she further dissected the DE sound and the AR sound and wrote DI-YAR. Totally wrong spelling, but she got the concept that speech is made of words, words are made of syllabels, syllabels are made of sounds and each sound can be represented by a letter, letters are symbols for sounds, a thought can be communicated in writing/speech....
I was amazed to see that whole process evolve. When ever I see my older one I think of this book.

sathish said...

utbt, that was really interesting to read. thanks for the comments. It is surprising how books help us in different ways(without our explicit knowledge).

Sheela said...

It is exercising the magic again, Satish, this time with Oggie,and I *had* to leave a note to thank you. Again!

And as utbtkids noted, this was my inspiration too to start the clapping exercise at home with Ana for counting the syllables in the words... especially when we play guessing game and am nowhere near guessing, Ana gives hints that are typically the starting letter sound, the ending sound and the number of syllables, all thanks to what this book sparked...

And, on a totally unrelated note, I learnt that Tanka is a five-line cousin of Haiku and has been a popular form of poetry in Japan for over 1300 years.

sathish said...

Sheela, I almost forgot about this book. reminded me of the fun we had. need to find it now for shraddha.

And thanks for going back in time(I mean the old posts) and leaving your comments. It definitely brings a big smile on me and ranjani.

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